(Bay City News)
Drivers lined up to the entrances of the Bay Bridge Monday night to get a glimpse of the newly-constructed eastern span after word came out that it would open hours earlier than scheduled, transit officials said.
The bridge had been closed since last Wednesday while construction crews finalized work on the new eastern span connecting Oakland to Yerba Buena Island.
The bridge was scheduled to be reopened by 5 a.m. Tuesday but the work was finished faster than anticipated and it reopened shortly after 10 p.m. on Monday.
Motorists packed the parking lot of a 76 gas station off the Powell Street exit of Interstate Highway 80 in Emeryville in anticipation of the bridge’s opening.
Antioch resident Douglas White, 48, said he was headed to work in San Francisco for the postal service and was going to take the San Mateo bridge but changed his mind when he heard the bridge was to open between 9 and 10 p.m.
While still excited to see the bridge, White was disappointed that the bridge didn’t open until after 10 p.m., despite the announcement.
“I just want to go to work,” he said.
Two teenagers with their family coming home from visiting relatives in Chico stayed up past their bedtime on a school night for a chance to see the new span.
The family changed their route when they heard about the bridge opening and waited more than 40 minutes to cross it, Rebecca Douglass said.
“They may be tired but I figure he’ll remember it,” Douglass said while gesturing toward 14-year-old Griffen Dempsey and his brother Kylan.
Once the bridge opened drivers flooded onto it, with many passengers and even drivers, despite warnings from the California Highway Patrol, holding their cellphones out of their windows to snap a picture of the Bay Area’s newest landmark.
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